What Foods Have A High Thermic Effect?

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Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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What foods have a high thermic effect? What a thermic effect does it requires your body to use more energy to digest them. The thermic effect is the number of calories it takes to digest and process the nutrients in your body. And research studies show that protein rich foods increase the thermic effect of food the most.

Some of those types of protein foods are fish, turkey, beef, steak, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. Studies show protein increases your metabolic thermal rate by 15 to 30%, carbs increase it by 5 to 10% and fats increase it to 1 to 3%.

Consuming protein foods helps to preserve and build lean muscle and the rest of this is it helps to drive the rate of your metabolism. Eating protein foods also helps to make you more fuller for a long period of time which prevents overeating.

What foods have a high thermic effect? photo credit: iStock- Valentynvolkov

Chili Peppers

The chemical found in chili peppers called capsaicin can potentially help boost your metabolism. There are about 20 research studies that have shown that capsaicin that is found in supplements can help burn an extra 50 extra calories per day.

Other studies show that taking 2 mg of capsaicin before each meal can reduce calorie consumption.

Beans, legumes, black beans, lentils are considered high protein foods that have a high thermal effect.


There are some research studies that have shown taking ginger has a thermal effect on the body. One research study showed that dissolving 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal can help you burn up to 43 calories more than drinking hot water alone. Another study showed that drinking a ginger drink can help increase feelings of satiety.  


Most people know how healthy it is to drink water to help you stay hydrated and it helps to suppress your appetite and make you full. Surprisingly there are research studies that have shown that drinking water can help boost your metabolism by 25 to 30%. One of the studies shown that it can elevate the resting energy expenditure, (REE) in adults and overweight children.

Caffeine in Coffee

The caffeine in coffee can help speed up your metabolic rate. A couple of research studies showed that drinking 3 cups of coffee per day which comes out to 270 mg of caffeine daily burned an extra 100 calories per day.

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The Bottom Line is the best foods to eat that has high thermal effect is protein rich foods. Those protein rich foods are fish, turkey, chicken, beans, beef, etc. They help to increase your metabolic thermal effect by 15 to 30%.

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